Archive for September, 2008

More Canadian trashing of Sarah Palin

September 28, 2008

I am intrigued by the hate shown towards Sarah Palin, the U.S. Republican Vice President nominee. What is particularly interesting is the venom coming from Canadian sources – specifically women commentators – as if they have a particular stake in the U.S. election.

Here is one from a writer by the name of Beverly Akerman from Montreal, whose commentary is not as downright nasty and vicious as Heather Mallick‘s writings but instead is simply contemptuous and snide.

Now, most women I know have all their time taken up worrying about silly, boring stuff like how to get pregnant, how to keep from getting pregnant, how to keep our daughters from getting pregnant, how to find affordable/reliable/high-quality childcare/healthcare/eldercare, how to juggle our careers and family, how to keep a roof over our heads, etc., etc., etc. I now realize that these poor girls will always be handicapped by their small dreams, and will never amount to much because, as Sarah Palin, former beauty queen and one-time mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, demonstrates, the best way to the top is clearly over the top.


A better shot than Dick Cheney, more photogenic than either Joe Lieberman or Joe Biden, a beauty queen, a woman who looks good in a beehive, Sarah Palin has it all. She’s Dan Quayle without the gravitas, Hillary without that pesky, wrinkle-inducing experience. She is everywoman, she is any woman. She’s the Vice-President of the United States for our times.

I wonder where all of the hate comes from. Does it stem in part from the fact that Palin is a hunter and is proud that it has been part of her lifestyle? Certainly, for some, the fact that she is an NRA life member is enough to put her on their hate list. There also seems to be a mindset that since she has a young family she should be at home baking bread bread and cleaning the house. God forbid that she should be out politicking on the National scene. Plenty of time to do all that once the kids are grown up and away from home!

I would think that most of the venom comes from the Left, who so badly want to see Obama in power as U.S. President that they can’t abide anyone who might endanger that mission. And they fear that Palin is the apple that just might upset their cart.

A solution to littering

September 26, 2008

Traveling through Banff National Park on our way back from Saskatchewan a couple of weeks ago we were behind a pickup truck with Alberta plates (which may be irrelevant to the story) when the passenger in the truck threw their paper coffee cups out the window and into the ditch. It was one of those occasions when it would have been useful to have front-mounted cannons on our car. It would have enabled me to fire a warning shot up their tailpipe.

Just a thought.

Heather Mallick’s trashing of Sarah Palin and others

September 26, 2008

When John McCain picked Sarah Palin as his running mate it was a given that the Democrats would do everything within their power to diminish her record, character and and anything else that might make her attractive to voters. This has happened. Actually it has happened in spades due in large part to the public attention that Palin’s candidacy has received and which has apparently threatened not only the official Democratic campaign, but to a greater extent a segment of the population who want to see Senator Obama in the White House at any cost.

What is noteworthy is the nastiness of these attacks on Palin’s person, her background and her family.

Granted, you expect the nasty and often vicious attacks that you routinely find on blogs and the likes from anonymous responders. They are so predictable that it is difficult to take them seriously. But what fascinates me is the vitriol that rolls out from women who seem to find Palin to be an affront to their sensibilities.

This has extended even to Canadian commentators, where columnist Heather Mallick wrote a couple of particularly nasty pieces which not only trashed Sarah Palin, but Alaskans, men in general and Republicans in particular.

In a column posted on the CBC website Mallick shows her hatred for Republicans specifically and apparently men in general.

It’s possible that Republican men, sexual inadequates that they are, really believe that women will vote for a woman just because she’s a woman. They’re unfamiliar with our true natures. Do they think vaginas call out to each other in the jungle night? I mean, I know men have their secret meetings at which they pledge to do manly things, like being irresponsible with their semen and postponing household repairs with glue and used matches. Guys will be guys, obviously.

Then she manages to attack the whole Palin family in one paragraph.

Palin has a toned-down version of the porn actress look favoured by this decade’s woman, the overtreated hair, puffy lips and permanently alarmed expression. Bristol has what is known in Britain as the look of the teen mum, the “pramface.” Husband Todd looks like a roughneck; Track, heading off to Iraq, appears terrified. They claim to be family obsessed while being studiously terrible at parenting. What normal father would want Levi “I’m a fuckin’ redneck” Johnson prodding his daughter?

But it is in a column written for the UK’s Guardian that Mallick really outdoes herself.

Canada has lots of hockey moms. They’re called Fran and Nancy. They have cruel haircuts and their voices shake the rafters of the rink as their rink-rats play. How can I translate the hearty, jollying-along Palin for British audiences? She’s a working class Joan Hunter Dunn. It’s those volleyball shoulders and field-hockey thighs, the energy, the bullying, and the utterself-confidence in every lie she tells.

And then a classy shot at Alaskans.

We love our own north to the point of covering our eyes and humming as it melts (yesterday the BBC headlined the collapse of Canada’s ice shelves; Canadian papers and websites missed the story) but Alaska is different from our north. We share a 1,500-mile border with a frontier state full of drunks and crazy people, of the blight that cheap-built structures bring to a glorious landscape. Canadian firms invest billions in the place and mine its ores. One hundred thousand Canadians visit Alaska every year, and we like to pass by in cruise ships. But it never goes further than that. Alaska is our redneck cousin, our Yukon territory forms a blessed buffer zone, and thank God he never visits. Alaska is the end of the line.

If we are seeing this level of hate (and from a Canadian commentator no less) at this stage of the U.S. election process, I can only imagine the foulness that will spew forth should the McCain/Palin ticket prevail on November 4th, 2008.

George Jonas has an amusing and possibly spot-on anaysis as to why this is so.

No humour allowed in Canadian politics

September 25, 2008

The Canadian election appears to be proceeding as expected. Negative ads prevail and the media is more interested in verbal gaffes than issues. All par for the course.

Minister of Agriculture Gerry Ritz makes a politically incorrect joke on a supposedly private conference call and one of his bureaucrats rats him out to the media.

Federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz was forced to apologize yesterday for “tasteless and completely inappropriate” jokes on an Aug. 30 government conference call during the listeriosis crisis.

“This is like a death by a thousand cuts. Or should I say cold cuts,” Ritz quipped after fretting about the political dangers of the crisis.

And when told during the conference call about a new death in Prince Edward Island, Ritz remarked: “Please tell me it’s Wayne Easter.”

Easter, the Liberal MP for the P.E.I. riding of Malpeque, is his party’s critic shadowing Ritz’s Agriculture Department.

The Canadian Press reported the comments last night, citing sources who took notes during the call.

Actually, I thought the comments were pretty funny, being a fan of black humour and all. But the media then escalated the whole issue by calling people who had experienced death in their families from the listeriosis outbreak to inform them of Ritz’ comment and to get their reaction; which is pretty tasteless in its own right.

Evatt Merchant, a lawyer with the Regina firm that’s handling listeriosis-related class-action lawsuits in six provinces, called Ritz’s comments “totally inappropriate and incredibly insensitive,” especially given that families are still grieving the loss of loved ones.

“Now, you have comments that have been made that revictimize the families, in terms of giving them the impression that their own government doesn’t appreciate just how devastating a tragedy this is,” Merchant said from his firm’s Calgary office.

But who in fact actually revictimized those families? Ritz, who made a flippant remark in a private conversation or the bureaucrat who leaked that conversation and the media who imposed on the privacy of those families to get a story?

Of the course the usual suspects called for Ritz’ resignation.

Both Easter and NDP Leader Jack Layton called for the minister’s resignation last night.

“I’ve already called for Mr. Ritz’s resignation over his handling of the listeriosis outbreak and his failure to tell the truth to Canadians about the government’s role in it,” Easter said. “I could never imagine he would show this kind of insensitivity. This is just one more reason he needs to be dismissed.”

Layton denounced Ritz’s remarks on the conference call as “utterly unacceptable.”

As did Stephane Dion.

In truth, the whole episode tells me more about the mentality of the federal bureaucracy than it does about Ritz.

And the media thinks that the Prime Minister is paranoid about the bureaucracy he inherited from the Chretien Liberal government. You think?

Mayor Miller doesn’t need the facts; just an excuse

September 21, 2008

Toronto Mayor David Miller has showed once again that he will not let facts get in the way of his gun-banning agenda.

On September 16th, 2008, the media reported a shooting at a Toronto school, upon which Toronto the Bad’s crime fighting Mayor leapt on to his soap box to tell the world that the city’s schools were safe and that if the Federal government would only ban all handguns, crime and violence across the land would disappear. Or at least in Toronto.

Then it was further reported that the shooting took place near a school and not actually at a school and the final revelation came when it was revealed that the person who had been shot was not a victim but a perpetrator in an attempted armed robbery, who was accidentally shot by his partner when their robbery victim fought back. As it turned out, the two thugs were attempting to steal the victim’s cell phone and were also looking for drugs when everything went wrong.

Like most of these incidents that we read about in the newspapers we will probably never know all of the background and history of the two thugs and whether the victim was a random choice or otherwise. But what we know with certainty is that Miller will continue to use any excuse or incident to push his gun ban program to the media, facts and circumstance be damned.

One can only wonder if Miller really believes his own rhetoric. Does he really believe that confiscating guns from honest Canadian citizens will in any way affect the violence associated with the drug trade in his city?

It was refreshing to read an articulate column in the National Post by Matt Gurney speaking directly to Miller’s rhetoric.

The common declaration that no one “needs” a handgun infuriates me even more. I can’t deny it – it’s true. No one needs a handgun, short of the obvious exceptions of police officers, military personnel, and a few select other professionals. I’ll grant that right now. But what I want to know is this: why does that matter? I would argue that I don’t need most of my material possessions, if we’re defining “need” as only those items required to keep me alive. I need food, I need water, I need oxygen, and in this climate, I need shelter for more than half the year. Everything else beyond that is a “want.”

I think most of us would agree that clothing, education, and medical care are pretty universal “wants”, but go much further than that and the argument bogs down as personal opinions diverge. I don’t need meat, I could survive quite well on a vegetarian diet, as several friends of mine have chosen to do. I don’t need a car, there’s public transportation in my area, and many in my neighbourhood rely on it exclusively. I don’t need any of the little luxuries I treasure so: my nice big TV, my beloved laptop computer, my constantly used iPod. Indeed, some might argue that I’d in fact be better off without these modern “conveniences.”

I know many will say that these items aren’t comparable to handguns, and I’m not blind to the differences, but, let’s face facts. I bought my handgun legally, paid all necessary taxes on the transaction, and registered it in accordance with the law. What it’s for is irrelevant: I own it, it’s mine. For all of those who wish to see me stripped of it, I offer this proposal. You can take my handguns, but I want unrestricted access to your home, so that I can remove from it any items that I deem you can live without. Maybe it’s just the libertarian in me, but I suspect that most of handgun ban types wouldn’t appreciate that kind of intrusion into your personal lives. May I please have the same courtesy? Sorry to trot out a cliché like “freedom”, but before we go down the path of stripping people of their possessions because they’re unpopular among certain political circles, perhaps we should take a minute first to ponder the broader implications?